The above presentation was part of a two-hour workshop I taught, mainly with the aim of introducing users to the powerful search functions available on Ravelry. The presentation alone may not have enough context to really get the whole gist, but it does have some exercises in it that will get anyone going on using the tools.
What really struck me when assembling this was how much you as a user can control what comes back to you as a feed. By investing some time in creating favourites, whether that’s designers, patterns, or projects, and by adding friends, your can create several streams that will show you new patterns and makers you’ve never seen before.
And that’s really different from most social media. Facebook and Instagram use algorithms to show you more of what you already see, and it’s tougher to break out of that than you might think. Simply following a wider variety of accounts won’t necessarily change your feed very much. IG and FB are pretty quiet about how exactly their algorithms work, but many companies that offer marketing tools have tried to break it down for their users, mainly with the aim of helping them break through the noise. But if you want to see a wider range of accounts on a regular basis, you can use the same information to hack your feed.
I found this article from Buffer particularly helpful - and while it’s interesting is that your feed is affected by how many accounts you follow, how often you log in and when you log in, the key thing I took away was that IG prioritizes your assumed relationship with the person behind the account. So if you’ve commented on their posts, and particularly if you’ve DMed that account, it thinks you might be friends in real life. To be clear, I am NOT suggesting that you should DM people just so their posts will show up in your feed more often. But if you are serious about seeing a wider range of accounts, simply following and liking may not be enough to break through. Commenting can though, and most IG users appreciate comments because it also helps their post become more visible.
Generally, tokenism sucks, and when it comes to your IG feed, it’s not going to work. If the majority of the accounts you follow and interact with are the same, IG will make sure you see more of that. That’s the business model.
I know I plan to invest more time in adding new favourites over on Ravelry and enjoying the results when I look at my pattern highlights and friend activity feed. As usual, Rav offers an incredibly flexible and worthwhile set of tools we fiber fiends are so lucky to have.